Snook action continues to heat up as summer approaches with lots of snook moving into the passes and onto the beaches. However, we still have plenty of fish up in the bay being cooperative on the flats too. Most of the bigger adult fish are the ones who migrate to the passes and beaches and ultimately near shore to spawn while the smaller schoolies stay back up in the bays and on the flats. The best snook fishing in the passes happens at night at the start and end of the outgoing tides, but incoming works well too. The early morning hours are just as good as the night if the tide is right as well. During the day, the best action is around the beaches and on the flats. Soft plastic paddle tails and flairhawk style jigs are great artificial lure options for snook. Live white bait, finger mullet or grass grunts also called pigfish are awesome live bait options.
Redfish action has been hot this past week around the docks, oyster bars and other structures. We are seeing quite a few around residential docks still even as the water warms up a bit, typically this is more of a cooler water hangout for the redfish. The flats have held lots of redfish this past week too, but they like to find those ambush points to feed on passing baits. Live white bait, live shrimp and smaller sized pinfish are great live bait options for redfish. While they love the soft plastic paddle tails, gold spoons and swim baits for artificial lures.
Trout action has been great at night throughout the area on the dock lights and bridge lights, but around the passes where water is moving has them feeding heavily. During the day the grass flat edges, potholes and cuts are great places to find feeding trout. There is still some large trout being caught throughout the area despite the warmer weather, but they are starting to thin out.
Mackerel action is great around the mouth of the bay, the passes and right along the beaches. Plenty of fish feeding on bait fish schools throughout the area. They love the faster moving baits especially if they have some flash to them as you retrieve them quickly along the edges of the bait schools or structures the mackerel have the bait pinned up against. Look for diving seabirds to find the mackerel feeding heavily below. It is a great time to go get some good eating mackerel to take back home.
Flounder bite has improved this past week. Seeing some nice ones towards the tail end of the outgoing tides in our passes. However, throughout the area adjacent to the flats on the sandy bottom and around bridges, docks, and seawalls you can find these guys waiting to ambush baits right on or near the bottom. Flounder love the slow-moving soft plastics for artificials, or the small pinfish, mud minnows or live shrimp for live bait.
Jack crevalle are not the highest food quality fish, but they are tons of fun to catch and they are easy to find this time of year on occasion. These guys are nicknamed ‘canal tuna’ because once you hook up, they take you on quite the ride. Pound for pound probably one of the hardest fighting fish you can catch inshore, and do not get me started on accidentally hooking a big boy offshore. These fish travel in massive schools around the flats and along the shorelines of our area about this time of year searching to devour any bait schools they come across in piranha type form. You can literally hear it before you see it on most occasions and the birds will help you find them too. Look for massive splashes on the surface well above and beyond what you’d see when the bait is being pushed to the surface by mackerel. These guys go wild thrashing and flopping about at the surface as they tear apart bait populations. You can literally throw ANY lure you have rigged into the mess and just hold on tight, but make sure you have your drag backed down because they will break your line, your rod, or your hook in a hurry with their frantic and blood pumping runs!
Mangrove snapper are starting to pick up around the bay area as the water warms and were seeing a little increase in their average size around the bridges, docks, jetties and passes. These guys love when the water warms, and they get in massive schools and love to eat just about anything small passing by the structure. Small hooks, light tackle, and minimal weight and a small piece of shrimp is a great way to target them. However, many are caught right now while targeting trout and redfish around the residential dock lines.